NYU men’s basketball continues to slip

This past weekend, the Violets lost two back-to-back games during a conference road trip.


It wasn’t the easiest weekend for NYU men’s basketball team. (Courtesy of NYU Athletics)

Pablo Ocariz, Staff Writer

NYU men’s basketball had a tough road trip this past weekend, losing 62-80 to Carnegie Mellon University and 92-96 to Case Western Reserve University. Graduate guard Spencer Freedman averaged 14 points and four assists over the two games.

“We have to go back to the drawing board, watch the film,” said combo guard Zay Freeney. “We need to eliminate all the small errors.”

The weekend started off with a Friday night loss at Carnegie Mellon. Freedman led the Violets in points, scoring 14, although they came inefficiently — the guard, who formerly attended Harvard University, shot 5-15 from the field.

The Violets kept it close for the first half, making it to 34-30 as the teams headed to the locker rooms for halftime.

They started the second half well as well, even managing to take a 38-36 lead early on. But it would turn out that this would be the last lead the Violets would have for the night.

“Shots weren’t falling for us in the second half,” Freeney said. “We were letting them get easy layups while we were struggling to get our threes to fall. That’s the recipe for losing.”

They were outscored 46-32 in the second half and shot 5-21 from the three-point line — only taking 14 shots from inside of the arc. 

“We are such a great three-point shooting team that sometimes we fall in love with it,” explained Freeney. “We keep shooting them, even when our shots don’t fall.”

The poor shooting was compounded by the Violets once again getting outrebounded, this time by a margin of 38-29. The lack of rebounding has been an issue for the Violets all season — the team lost the rebounding battle in all but one of their in-conference games. 

The road trip continued as NYU traveled to Cleveland, Ohio for a high-scoring loss against Case Western. Freeney scored a team high of 19 points on just 11 shots, and shot 50% from the three-point line.

Unlike on Friday night, the Violets made their shots against the Spartans, shooting  54% from the field and 38% from the 3-point line. 

However, the Spartans topped the Violets with a 60% shooting percentage from the field and 47.6% from the three-point line.

“They had 50 points in the first half — that’s just unacceptable from us,” Freeney said. “We have to get stops. Defense is the main thing that’s wrong right now.”

The Violets may not have played great defense, but they managed to keep the game close all the way through against a team that was not missing. Despite Case Western’s incredible offense, NYU hung on until the end and even tied the game 90-90 with 44 seconds left. 

They were not able to take advantage of the close game, though, ending up losing yet another crucial University Athletic Association matchup.

“Our Achilles heel in UAA play has been finishing the last possessions of games,” Freeney said. “I feel like we’re at this hump, where the last few minutes of the game it just gets away from us.”

NYU is now tied for last place in the UAA standings. Its dreams of being in the top four of the conference and making the March Madness tournament at the end of the season seem to be slipping further and further away.

But the Violets do not allow themselves to feel down — or lose their edge.

“It doesn’t discourage how hard we play or how competitive we are,” Freeney explained. “We still have a mindset of winning. If that means maybe ruining someone else’s chances of making the tournament, then that’s what it is. But we are going to practice hard and play harder.”

The Violets have five in-conference games remaining, three of which are at home. Although the chances of making the tournament are slim, this young team continues to build going forward, and they want to show that they are better than what we’ve seen.

The Violets continue their season with games at home at the Brooklyn Athletic Facility against the University of Chicago on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Washington University on Sunday at noon.

Contact Pablo Ocariz at [email protected].